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New Zealand announces new measures to support Ukraine

March 15, 2022

New Zealand will provide work visas to Ukrainian family members of Ukrainian-born citizens. The government also vowed further humanitarian aid for Ukraine amid Russia's invasion.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta (left) and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have supported measures for Ukrainians as Russia's invasion continuesImage: Mark Mitchell/AP/picture alliance

New Zealand introduced a new policy on Tuesday that will allow close to 4,000 family members of Ukrainian-born citizens to move to the country and announced another 4 million New Zealand dollars ($2.7 million, €2.4 million) in humanitarian aid. 

What do we know so far?

Under the new policy presented by Immigration Minster Kris Faafoi, New Zealanders born in Ukraine will be able to sponsor a Ukrainian family member and their immediate family. Those accepted under the program will receive a two-year work visa, and their children will be able to attend school in the country. 

"The 2022 Special Ukraine Policy will be open for a year and allow the estimated 1,600 Ukrainian-born citizens and residents in New Zealand to sponsor parents, grandparents and adult siblings or adult children and their immediate family," Faafoi said. 

"This is the largest special visa category we have established in decades."

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta also said that the country has pledged a further 4 million New Zealand dollars to support Ukrainian communities. This is in addition to 2 million New Zealand dollars announced earlier. The funds are to be directed toward those on the ground while New Zealand looks at options for further support.

New Zealand 'appalled' by human rights abuses in Ukraine 

"We are appalled at the egregious human rights abuses occurring in Ukraine, particularly Russia's attacks on humanitarian corridors, and the targeting of civilians," Mahuta said.

Refugees welcome at German-Polish border

After Russia launched an invasion against Ukraine in February, the international community has called for an end to hostilities. Several powers have announced strict measures to censure Russia as millions of Ukrainians are forced to flee their homes.

Earlier, New Zealand announced an extension to visas held by Ukrainians currently living in New Zealand. The country also opened its borders to Ukrainians with valid visas. This is particularly notable as the borders are currently closed to all non-New Zealanders or New Zealand residents over COVID-19 concerns

New Zealand has also passed a law to freeze Russian assets in the country,as well as stopping superyachts, ships and aircraft from entering its waters or airspace to escape sanctions, and banned around 100 individuals from traveling to New Zealand.

see/wd (Reuters, dpa)

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